Each week my son and I don our Boy Scouts of America uniforms and head to a meeting. Shirt, pants and hat come out of the closet and join us for a week of adventures, be it a lesson during a meeting or a few days at the camp site. Since these aren’t every day clothes we take care in storing them when the fun is over, which got me thinking about the care an storage of uniforms in general.
Uniforms need special care, from those you need for work to the military uniforms worn by the men and women in the armed forces. What’s the best way to store them? Read on.
Military uniforms are a special case. If their owner is still active, they’re often stored in places (barrack boxes or rucksacks) in case of rapid deployment. That being said, there are seasonal variations in uniforms as well as uniforms for special occasions. The same storage and organizational rules apply here as for civilian clothing; have it laundered or dry cleaned right away, store the uniforms separately from civilian clothes and store uniform parts (tops/bottoms) together if possible.
Most military uniforms have “accoutrements” that are worn with the clothing: pins, medals, name and rank badges and patches that can’t be laundered and will move from today’s uniform to tomorrow’s uniform. It’s best to have a small basket to corral these items either wherever you disrobe or in the laundry area. Accoutrements for special occasion uniforms should not be stored on the uniform (e.g. metal pins can rust and stain) so a small jewelry organizer tied to the clothes hanger (and easily shoved into a suitcase for traveling) is ideal.
Long term storage for military uniforms (insect proof bins, out of dampness etc) is the same as for civilian clothes.
Military members have lots of boots and shoes. For long term storage, stuffing boots with acid-free paper helps keep shape and prevents damage. Parade shoes (super-high gloss) should be stored in a zippered cloth bag.
Let’s move on from military uniforms and look at other sorts. There are general rules that apply to all sorts of uniforms:
- Avoid hangers for uniforms that will remain unused in long-term storage. The seams could stretch if left hanging for a year or more.
- 100% acid-free boxes are a good way to go. They protect uniforms efficiently, let you avoid hangers and allow air to circulate.
- Avoid vacuum-sealing uniforms as you could find permanent wrinkles have set in if left for a long time.
- Avoid putting them in the smallest space possible. Allowing air to flow will help prevent mold growth.
These tips will keep your uniforms looking good for years to come. Preserve their usefulness, significance and memories with ease. You’ll be glad you did.